After nearly 40 years of movie theater ownership, Muller Family Theatres was sold to a Detroit firm on July 29, bringing an end to a long-time family business with 8 theaters in the Minneapolis-St.Paul metro, including multi-screen cinemas in Plymouth and Rogers. "It's nice I can go to some of the theaters right now, and people walk in and they will say, 'Mike, what shows should we see?'," said Mike Muller, president of Muller Family Theatres. The 76-year-old Muller bought his first theater in Monticello in 1978. Over the years, Muller and his brother, Bob, grew the business to include cinema complexes as large as the Rogers 18 Theatre built in 2006 and a 21–screen theater in Lakeville. Other locations include: Delano, White Bear, East Bethel, and Waconia. For movie fans, Muller Family Theatres was a place to enjoy the latest in cinema trends from monster-sized screens and stadium seating to Dolby digital surround sound and concessions that went well beyond popcorn and soda. "We were leaders in the changes in Minnesota," said Muller. "We were the first to put pop cup holders in our theaters. We were the first ones to have Dolby digital sound, we were within three weeks of the first ones to put in stadium seating. We were the first ones to convert all of our theaters to stadium seating." At the end of July, Muller sold his family theater business to a Detroit firm. Muller told Channel 12 as the latest theater trends move to premium bars and recliner style seating, he and his brother could see the writing on the wall. "People wanted these chairs, estimated cost was $2.5 million on 21–screens. First question out of my brother's mouth was 'how many bags of popcorn do we have to sell? And then, how old are you, when will that return come' so it was time," said Muller about the business sale. Under new ownership, the theaters' name will likely change this fall as a new generation of movie theater trends take hold. All 400 people employed by Muller Family Theatres will be retained under the new ownership, according to Muller. Alexandra Renslo reporting http://twelve.tv Learn about our mobile app - http://bit.ly/CH12app http://twitter.com/12sports http://twitter.com/12localnews http://www.facebook.com/12localnews
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